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Nelsonville Music Festival: Day 2

Doug Martsch of Built to Spill; photo by Garrett Bower

By Garrett Bower, Copy Editor

Friday’s offering at Nelsonville Music Festival kicked off for me right around 4:30, late in the afternoon. I had made the mistake of starting my day off with three plate-sized pancakes and coffee strong enough to send space shuttles to the moon. The combination left me vibrating in my home with a dough boulder keeping me rooted in place for most of my morning.

As 4 o'clock rolled around, I finally mustered up the strength to haul my hotcake-filled butt out the door on a special mission. After two years of residing in Athens, today would finally be the day I caught the infamous local band, Weird Science. The gang didn’t disappoint, providing some slick rock and roll that commanded all festivalgoers within earshot to shake it.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of sprinting from stage to stage, catching samples of the sparse and experimental Ryan Jewell in the cozy No-Fi Cabin--whose use of contact microphones and found objects was almost as intriguing to watch set up as it was to see him perform--and Good English, who put out tight and robust straight-forward grrrl rock.

Then it was on to watch the legendary R&B performer Mavis Staples on the Main Stage, whose voice was thunderous with unparalleled range, filling the entirety of the festival grounds.

Between sets, I managed to nab some good eats, namely an always blessed vegetarian Mata Hari hot dog from the O’Betty’s booth and a sample of some truly glorious pierogies from Columbus-based company Pierogi Mountain, which kept me running well into the night.

The energy boost proved to be much needed as up next were Pacific Northwest big-sound gods Built to Spill who rolled out a meaty set of dense, jammy staples like “Randy Described Eternity” and “You Were Right.” The band remained calm and methodic throughout but watching frontman Doug Martsch put on a shred clinic was a dream come true.

Finally, the contemporary masters of weird took the stage: The Flaming Lips. I opted to watch the spectacle from a safe distance, sipping on some bomb-ass free chocolate milk from Snowville Creamery. As Wayne Coyne and friends took the stage, the crowd went nuts. Band members dressed as giant cartoony mushrooms and what I think was two dudes as a giant rainbow flanked the singer. “What is he?” I asked of Coyne’s distant costume which later turned out to be a blow up pool float frog. “Well, he’s a man with a god complex,” replied Shane Riley. I finished my milk and trekked back to my car as The Flaming Lips began to fight off a 30-foot-tall pink robot made out of balloons.

#nmf2015 #nmf #nelsonvillemusicfestival #garrettbower #weirdscience #ryanjewell #goodenglish #mavisstaples #builttospill #theflaminglips

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